I might be writing this article pre-maturely as 44 year-old Bartolo Colon could easily pitch his way through another couple seasons, but I will continue. Bartolo’s career seems to be coming to a close and the question of whether or not he makes it into the Hall of Fame pops up. Bartolo recieved a 50 game suspension in 2012 for an illegal PED and was listed in the Biogenesis scandal in 2013. People are not too kind to those who have taken PEDs, however, Bartolo continued to be a fan favorite. PEDs aside, do his numbers stack up to those who have been inducted into the Hall?
To start, here are some of Bartolo’s career accolades: 4 time All Star, 1 Cy Young, and finished in the top 6 in Cy Young voting four times. Here is a look at his WARP throughout his career where he pitched at least 100 innings:
He is now in his fourth season of negative WARP, but throughout his career he is averaging a WARP of 3.1, which is quite valuable for any team. He has a career ERA of 4.02 which is not exactly great. As of today, the highest ERA in the Hall of Fame is 3.80. Bartolo would be the first to get in with an ERA one the other side of 4.00. But lets only look at Bartolo’s ten year peak from 1998 until 2005. In the time he averaged a 4.55 WARP to go along with a FIP around 4.03. He is not exactly lighting it up there either. His Cy Young year was somewhat sub-par too. He had a 3.48 ERA which was 20th among qualified starters and was 24th in FIP. Johan Santana on the other hand led the AL in ERA and FIP. Why did Bartolo win the Cy Young award then? Well, he led the league with 21 wins (a team stat), and the voters LOVE the win stat. So yes, Santana was better in just about every category but wins and came in behind Bartolo. I digress. Bartolo was not even elite when he was considered elite. He is also considered very durable. He has had 17 seasons where he pitched over 100 innings and could have had more seasons had it not been for suspensions. His ERA+ sits at 108, which means he has been an above average pitcher throughout his career. He has more strikeouts than the average Hall of Famer by over 300. Even with all his years of service he has less innings pitched than the average Hall of Famer and less wins. Interestingly enough, Bartolo’s index score via Baseball Prospectus is highest with Hall of Famers Greg Maddux and John Smoltz. Clearly he did not pitch as well as those two. There is really no case for Bartolo to be elected into the Hall. However, he may go down as one of biggest (no pun intended) fan favorites in history. Lets just remember moments like this
Colon may not be a Hall of Famer in Cooperstown, but he will be in our hearts.